Gateway Gazette

Calgary Bars, Pubs and Venues Highlighted at Best Bar None Awards

Awards recognize industry’s commitment towards safety and responsible liquor service.

On June 19th, the 7th annual Best Bar None Calgary Accreditation and Awards honoured 62 accredited bars, clubs, pubs and entertainment venues. From this group, the steering committee awarded nine establishments in various categories for going above and beyond to raise the bar on service and patron safety:

  • Bar/Lounge: Melrose Café and Bar – Cowboys Casino
  • Hotel Bar: The Other Side Sports Bar – Hotel Blackfoot
  • Restaurant and Bar: Julio’s Barrio Kensington
  • Small Pub: Hudsons Canada’s Pub (Crowfoot)
  • Pub: Hudsons Canada’s Pub (Downtown)
  • Large Pub: Hudsons Canada’s Pub (Shawnessy)
  • Club: Cowboys Dance Hall – Cowboys Casino
  • Campus bar: The Gateway Restaurant and Bar – SAIT
  • Casino: Century Casino

“I am honoured to congratulate all of the award winners and accredited Best Bar None venues. Establishments that participate in this program demonstrate their commitment to their patrons, striving for excellent customer service and high safety standards. The AGLC is proud to work with industry leaders and stakeholders to address the risk of alcohol-related harms.”

~Alain Maisonneuve, President & CEO, AGLC

As a new feature of the Best Bar None program, the inaugural Best Bar None Calgary People’s Choice Awards were presented to the winning venues. Members of the public were able to vote for their favourite accredited establishment from June 5-18. Winners are:

  • Bar/Lounge: National on 10th
  • Hotel Bar: Cactus Lounge – Deerfoot Inn
  • Restaurant and Bar: Craft Beer Market Restaurant and Bar (Downtown)
  • Small Pub: Hudsons Canada’s Pub (Crowfoot)
  • Pub: Hudsons Canada’s Pub (Downtown)
  • Large Pub: Rose and Crown Pub and Restaurant
  • Club: Commonwealth Bar and Stage
  • Campus bar: The Den & Black Lounge
  • Casino: Cowboys Casino
  • Event Venue: Palace Theatre

Best Bar None is a voluntary accreditation program for bars that demonstrate a commitment to excellence in service and safety. Bars are evaluated on things like established procedures for handling violence and illicit drugs, ensuring intoxicated patrons make it home safely, cleanliness and maintenance standards, and enforcing a respectful workplace where staff and patrons feel safe.

“The City of Calgary is very pleased to see local businesses demonstrate professionalism and a commitment to creating a safe and entertaining atmosphere for patrons. I would like to thank all the award winners and nominees. You are helping keep Calgary safe while also strengthening our local economy.”

~Marc Halat, Manager/Chief Licence Officer, Compliance Services, Calgary Community Standards, The City of Calgary

“The value of Best Bar None lies in the fact that those bars that meet stringent standards have demonstrated they are responsibly managed and committed to ensuring their patrons’ safety to the best of their ability.”

~Staff Sergeant John McCarthy, Calgary Police Service

“Part of what makes Calgary a great place to live and visit is the wide range of culinary and entertainment offerings that provide unique food and beverage options, unparalleled experiences and exceptional customer service. Tonight’s winners are truly the ultimate hosts and their efforts contribute to Calgary’s collective efforts toward becoming the ultimate host city.”

~Cindy Ady, CEO, Tourism Calgary

Calgarians can determine if a venue is Best Bar None accredited through a plaque and door signage on display within the premises informing patrons and area residents of their participation in the program. Additionally, patrons can now use the Best Bar Finder to easily search for bars in their area that are accredited by the AGLC as a Best Bar None venue.

Best Bar None Calgary is a partnership between the AGLC, the City of Calgary, Calgary Police Service and Tourism Calgary with support from the Alberta Safer Bars Council. For more information on Best Bar None, visit

Best Bar None Accreditation

What types of things do the venues need to do to receive accreditation?

The criteria items are based on liquor legislation and regulation, the AGLC policies and industry best practices. The mandatory criteria required for accreditation covers a wide range of hospitality business management practices, including, but not limited to:

  • security and patron management
  • responsible liquor service
  • drugs and first aid
  • issues relating to the premises (glass and fire safety)
  • patron transportation
  • litter and waste management

How do accredited venues get considered for an award?

If the applicants meet all of the mandatory criteria, they are accredited. Achievement of some or all of the requirements included in the bonus category results in accreditation and eligibility for an award in one of the nine BBN Calgary categories – Pub, Small Pub, Large Pub, Bar/Lounge, Hotel Bar, Restaurant and Bar, Club, Campus Bar and Casino.

What is mandatory and bonus criteria?

For example, in the area of patron management and safety, one of the mandatory criteria requires that the venue have a written policy regarding weapons found or removed from patrons. The bonus criteria include having a security surveillance/camera system that records interior and/or exterior/parking area or using a scanning system and/or metal detectors or wands at entrances.

In the area of emergency preparedness, one of the mandatory criteria requires that the venue have a written procedure for premises evacuation in the event of an emergency (fire, power loss, etc.). The bonus criteria include having a written incident reporting system that is kept up to date and also include conducting and documenting quarterly mock evacuation training exercises with staff.

In the area of patron transportation, for example, one of the mandatory criteria requires that the venue support a transportation program such as Designated Driver, “My Safe Ride Home”, etc. with applicable signage posted in patron areas as well as near public telephones. The Bonus criteria include having a designated drop-off and pick-up areas and also documenting any incidences of patrons refusing safe transportation.

Venues compete to the top bar in their category. When selecting the candidates for awards, the applications that met the greatest number of bonus criteria are forwarded to the judging panel for their review and identification of the award winners. In addition, the assessors provide the judging panel with their general impressions of the businesses.

How long is the accreditation valid?

Best Bar None accreditation is valid for one year. To make sure the licensed premises are maintaining the highest standards of safety and customer service, applications and assessments for Best Bar None accreditation are done on a yearly basis. This means existing accredited venues are expected to re-apply annually and undergo a successful assessment to retain their accreditation status. This also affords previously non-accredited licensed premises an opportunity to raise their standards and gain accreditation.

Best Bar None Calgary Accredited Bars

Bank and Baron Pub Lobby Lounge – Hotel Blackfoot
Barley Mill Neighbourhood Pub Loco Lou’s Grill and Bar
Barrington’s Lounge – Coast Plaza Hotel Macewan Hall Conference and Event Centre – University of Calgary
Bootlegger’s Melrose Café and Bar – Cowboys Casino
Bottlescrew Bill’s Pub Mill Street Brewpub
Bushmills Irish Pub Mr. Schnapps Restaurant and Bar (North)
Buzzards Restaurant and Bar National on 10th
Cactus Lounge – Deerfoot Inn National on 17th
Carriage House Inn Banquet Facilities National Westhills
Casino Calgary Oak Tree Tavern and Lounge
Century Casino Palace Theatre
Century Casino Showroom Peanuts Public House – Carriage House Inn
Commonwealth Bar and Stage Pin Bar
Cowboys Casino Pop’s Taphouse
Cowboys Dance Hall – Cowboys Casino Prohibition Freehouse
Craft Beer Market Restaurant and Bar (Downtown) Ricardo’s Hideaway
Deerfoot Inn and Casino Riverstone Pub
Deerfoot Inn and Casino Banquet Facilities Rose and Crown Pub and Restaurant
Dudley’s Lounge – Carriage House Inn The Blues Can
Elbow Room Lounge – Glenmore Inn and Convention Centre The Den & Black Lounge – University of Calgary
Fiddler’s Green Pub The Gateway Restaurant and Bar – SAIT
Hotel Blackfoot Banquet Facilities The Hub – Mount Royal University
Hudsons Canada’s Pub (Crowfoot) The Last Defence Lounge – University of Calgary
Hudsons Canada’s Pub (Downtown) The Other Side Sports Bar – Hotel Blackfoot
Hudsons Canada’s Pub (Shawnessy) The Palomino Smokehouse
Jamesons Irish Pub (17 Avenue) Toad ‘N’ Turtle Pubhouse and Grill (Barlow)
Jamesons Irish Pub (Brentwood) Toad ‘N’ Turtle Pubhouse and Grill (Shepard)
Jetz Bar and Lounge – Best Western Port O’Call Hotel Woody’s Taphouse (Country Hills)
Julio’s Barrio Kensington Woody’s Taphouse (South Trail)
Kildare’s Ale House Wurst Beer Hall
Kilt and Caber Ale House Wurst Restaurant and Bar

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